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Peters returns to the court

Bill Brink | Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Notre Dame got a taste last season of what Devereaux Peters could do, but injury ended her contributions before she could display her full potential.

Peters, a sophomore forward, brought some teeth to the front of the Fighting Irish full-court press, getting her long arms and 6-foot-2 frame in the way of opposing players and obstructing their views and passing lanes. She struggled with foul trouble, but still averaged nine points and 5.3 rebounds in 20 minutes a game and led the team with 45 blocks.

Then in February, Peters tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), an injury that kept her from playing for the rest of the season. Now, Peters said her knee is close to full strength, thanks to her rehab over the summer.

“It was rough. It was a tough road doing rehab, it sucks,” she said. “If you really are passionate about basketball you just gotta get through and keep pushing because you want to still play.”

Peters said the rehab consisted of basic exercises to rebuild the strength in her quad as well as stability exercises. She said she would jump off of a chair and practice landing correctly, or jump to touch a backboard and focus on coming down straight on her knee.

Watching the team finish the remainder of the season while powerless to help, Peters said, bothered her.

“It was tough at the end when you know you couldn’t help your team, and you wanted them to get all the way and you know you couldn’t help them besides cheering,” she said. “I knew if I did what I’m supposed to do in the offseason I’d be able to help them next year.”

The toughest part of the ordeal, Peters said, was knowing her knee was healing but remaining unable to aid the team.

“Even though [I felt] a lot better and I’m able to walk and stuff like that, but still not being able to play,” she said.

Her knee has not reached the 100 percent point, Peters said, but is getting there. She said she wants to return to the point where she was last year.

“Mainly I just want to get back to the point I was at, and some,” Peters said. “I’m just trying to work hard and get to that point. Maybe less fouling so I can stay in a little longer.”

A lot of her fouls, she said, were small errors like reach-ins or attempting to block every shot taken close to her. Aside from “Not hitting people,” Peters said she needs to be smarter on defense.

Besides her resolve to return to her previous form, Peters said she talked to former guard Charel Allen, who graduated in May, about the injury.

“A lot of it was just that I have to be mentally tough, it’s going to be a long road,” Peters said of her talks with Allen.

“Sometimes you’re going to feel like you want to give up because it’s tough, but if its what you want then you gotta go through and just push yourself. There will be bad days, but you just have to push through it.”